Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recipe: Crockpot Chili Mac

You Will Need:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 can Chili Beans
  • 1 can Diced tomatoes & Green Chilis
  • 2 tbsp diced onions
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
Brown and crumble the ground turkey. Add all except the macaroni into a crock pot. Cook on low 7-8 hours or 3-4 hours on high. 10-15 minutes before you are ready to serve add the macaroni and continue cooking until done. Serve with toppings like cheese, sour cream, green onions, etc. I also like to serve with cornbread.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pantry Makeover

So I few weeks ago I finally stopped and took a good look at my embarrassing pantry. It has been the hardest thing to keep clean and organized so I knew I needed to do something to help myself. Here's the embarrassing before and the much better after. And read below to see how I organized it all:

  • On the top shelf I keep things I don't use very often and any extra things like Jada's boxes of cereal
  • On the next shelf you can see my canisters that hold my baking necessities. You can read this post to see how I converted empty formula cans to house my flour, sugar, cornmeal, etc.
  • Also on the middle shelf I have a small basket (purchased from the Dollar Tree) that holds my powder drink mixes and spice mixes. Beside that I have my cereal and pasta boxes.
  • On the bottom shelf is a small container (from the Dollar Tree) that holds candy. We all love hard candy around here.
  • And then on the bottoms shelf there is 4 boxes. This is that part that has helped the most to keep me organized and know what we have and what we need. I took 4 empty diaper boxes and covered them with some cute paper. Then I labeled them "Jada", "Candice", "Jody", and "Canned Goods". So everything that belongs to that person goes in their box. Jada's box holds all her snacks, fruit cups, baby foods, etc. My box and my hubby's box has all our breakfast and lunch items or anything we buy for ourselves. And the last box has all my canned goods. 
  • Then at the bottom I have an extra large diaper box that holds all my re-usable containers. I also keep my step stools down there.
Finally an organized pantry that usable and efficient! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

Recently I received an e-book from Waterbrook to read and review for you guys. This book is called Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma. I will share with you a description of the book and then post my review below:

Do your kids expect clean folded clothes to magically appear in their drawers? Do they roll their eyes when you suggest they clean the bathroom? By racing in to make their lives easy, have you unintentionally reinforced your children’s belief that the world revolves around them?
Dismayed at the attitude of entitlement that had crept into her home, Kay Wyma got some attitude of her own. Cleaning House is her account of a year-long campaign to introduce her five kids to basic life skills and the ways meaningful work can increase earned self-confidence and concern for others.
With irresistible humor and refreshing insights, Kay candidly details the ups and downs of equipping her kids for such tasks as making beds, refinishing a deck chair, and working together. The changes that take place in her household will inspire you to launch your own campaign to dislodge your kids from the center of their universe.

I am always reading parenting books! Being a first time, new parent I always am on the lookout for a new parenting book to read so I was very interested when they sent me this book. I initially thought it was going to be the type of book that you can read out of order like most self-help books. But this book is written more in a story form. I found myself being drawn into the story and wanting to keep reading to find out how her kids did with the change. The author lists 12 things she wants her kids to be able to know and do when they leave her house which I thought was very interesting. I had never thought about making a list of things I want my child to learn before she's 18 but I think it's a great idea. I loved that this book was not only about teaching kids chores but also teaching them valuable life lessons such as loving their neighbor and family teamwork. I didn't agree with all of her ideas but it was a worthwhile read and the author peppered in humor in the book that made it a fun, easy read. I think it would be a great book for new parents wanting to get the upper hand on family chores and teamwork before their kids get out of hand and I also think it would be a great book for families who need help getting their teenagers involved in day to day lives. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Celebrating 1 Year Home

One year ago today we finally were able to bring our beautiful daughter home from the NICU. It was a very long 17 day stay after birth including a major surgery. But on September 23rd, 2011 we got to bring all 4 lbs 12 ozs of baby goodness home to stay and we couldn't be happier.

After a long week of helping my parent move, we decided to celebrate today with a special family trip to Fall Creek Falls. We had a great time and Jada loved hiking and playing in the dirt. Here's some pictures from the trip:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

3 Ways to Use Baby Jars as Fall Decor

Here's some simple and cute ways I came up with to incorporate empty baby food jars into your Fall decor!

#1. For this cute look fill and empty jar with orange tulle. Wrap a ribbon around the jar and tie into a bow. Fill with your favorite fall flowers or leaves.

#2. Fill the jar with your favorite Fall candy and tie a cute ribbon around. You could even paint the lid to use as well.

#3. Draw a pumpkin face on the front of the jar and place a tea light candle inside to light at night. This would be cute to do with kids and let them draw their own faces.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Free Printable: Christmas List

I have been thinking lately how close we are to starting Christmas shopping! I know a lot of my friends have already started. Here's a free printable for you to help keep track of who you have to buy gifts for, a budget for each one, a section to write down gift ideas, and a complete box so you can check them off when you're done! Hope you will download it and enjoy it this year. Just right click and save the image on your computer to print. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup

Here's a super simple chicken noodle soup that can be ready in under an hour. We like to eat it with grilled cheese or crusty bread and I tend to serve it on rainy days. You can also double the recipe and freeze half. If you are freezing half, you will want to freeze it before you add the pasta. Hope you enjoy! 


  • 2 - 3 carrots 
  • 2 -3 celery ribs
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 8 oz pasta (any kind you want. I use a different one every time. Bow tie is our favorite)
  • 8 cups chicken broth

Dice up the celery, carrots, and onion into whatever size you prefer in your soup. Separate the meat from the skin and bones of the chicken. Shred and add it to the pot. Add the 8 oz chicken broth. Put on the stove and simmer at least 45 minutes. 10 minutes before you want to serve your soup add the pasta and boil until tender. Serve with crusty bread or grilled cheese. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall Series: Favorite Fall Children's Books

Here are my Top 5 books about Fall to read with your littles! 

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert. This is a great book about the life of a tree. The illustrations are amazing. 


Fall Leaves Fall! By Zoe Hall. One of my favorites!! About two brothers playing in the leaves in the Fall time. Perfect to read after a day playing outside in the leaves.

Countdown to Fall by Fran Hawk. This is the perfect mixture of reading and looking at pictures. Countdown to fall from 10 and learn about different kinds of trees.

Mouse's First Fall by Lauren Thompson. Fantastic illustrations and a great book for the preschool age about a mouse who experiences Fall for the first time. This is a great book in a series of "Mouse's Firsts".

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro! This is a great addition to the "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" series. Just a funny, silly book to read. Older children will find it very funny.

Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson. A story about a boys family who likes to make applesauce every year from apples at the farmers market. I make applesauce and various apple recipes every October from apples we pick at an apple orchard. I love to read this the night before we go. 

What about you? Do you have any favorite books about Fall that you love to read with your children? Please leave it in the comments below, I am always looking for new titles to add to our library!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Easy and Skinny Tailgating Recipes

I don't know about you but we are big football fans in this house. During college football season we are going to a friends house pretty much every weekend for a football party and everyone brings a finger food. I try to always bring a healthier option and fill up on that while just having little bites of everything else. Here's my 3 go to recipes for football parties:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fall Series: How to Spruce Up a String of Lights

So I bought these pumpkin lights last year at Target for around $5 I think. They looked so cute in the box but when I got them home and opened them, I discovered they had a lot of ugly black wire.

Yea not so cute. So I decided to spruce them up a bit. I went digging in my craft cabinet for anything I had that was orange or black. I came up with some fabric scraps, ribbon, and tulle.

So then I cut strips out of everything using my handy tip I described in this post.

And then I just started tying everything around the wire of the lights in random patterns until most of the wire was covered and I was satisfied. It turned out so cute and pretty! And the best part is it even looks great in the day time when the lights aren't on. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Make a Tutu Skirt Without Elastic

I love making tutu skirts for my daughter to wear for special occasions! I recently made her one for her birthday. Having made so many, I've learned a few tricks along to way to make them easier. And all you really need is ribbon and tulle! Here's how I do it:

First measure your child's waist. Once you have that, measure out the inches you need for the skirt on the ribbon you will be using to attach the tulle. I use a wider ribbon for this part. You will want to leave enough extra ribbon on both sides so you can tie a bow in the back to fit your child.

Here's my piece of ribbon I'm going to be using as the "waist" for the skirt. You can see the black lines I made. That tells me where to put the tulle so it will go all the way around her waist. I will fill in everything between the black lines with tulle and ribbon and the extra will be used for the bow.

Next you want to cut your strips of tulle.I have another blog post up on how to cut your strips of tulle quickly using only 1 cut. . Please check it out. It saves so much time!! 

Once you have your strips of tulle cut out, start tying them around the ribbon. I just use a standard knot. I used green as my base color.

Continue until you have filled the ribbon up.

Then I added some fun pops of color in purple and hot pink.

Now you could say your finished after that step but I like to add something a little extra. I love the look of ribbon and tulle together so I wanted to add some ribbon to the skirt and give it some dimension. I cut the ribbon the same way as I cut the tulle! Wrap it around cardboard, cut one time across. 

And here's the finished skirt with the ribbon

So fun and girly! 

And here's a pic of Jada modeling it after I finished. Fresh from her nap bed head hair and all :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall Series: Pinterest Recipes I Want to Try this Fall

I have made my own little bucket list of recipes from Pinterest that I want to try this fall. I have my staples that I make every year but I love trying new things and adding them to my collection if they turn out well. I have 29 recipes pinned on my Fall Food pinterest board but I chose 3 to be the absolute ones I want to give a try sometime in the next couple of months. Here they are:

Halloween Popcorn
This looks and sounds delicious. I can't wait to give it a try and pop in a scary movie one night close to Halloween. You can find the recipe here.

Pumpkin Cake and Apple Cider Glaze
This looks like a great almost healthy cake recipe. The cake part is only 2 ingredients: yellow cake and pumpkin. The icing is a glaze made out of sugar, apple juice and pumpkin pie spice. Sounds heavenly. I plan to try this to take to a fall party or maybe on a Sunday for a special dessert. You can find the recipe here.

Caramel Apple Bites
Why haven't I thought of this? I love caramel apples but what a mess! These look so cute and I can't wait to try them with some delicious fall apples. Find the original post, here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Series: Favorite Fall Movies

Here are my top 3 movies to watch in the Fall:

When Harry Met Sally
A funny, romantic comedy. Harry and Sally explore what their friendship would be like if they became more then friends. Set in New York it includes a beautiful scene in Central Park set in the Fall while the leaves are changing color.

Sleepy Hollow
Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman. Fall is the best time to watch scary movies and this is the perfect one to curl up on the couch with after the kids have gone to bed.

Autumn in New York
This is a romantic drama movie about an aging man who falls in love with a younger woman. A good movie to watch just for the scenery.

Do you have a favorite movie you like to watch in the fall time? Comment below!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Birthday Series: The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe!


2 Cups Boiling Water
1 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Boil the water and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool. Once cool mix the sugar water, buttermilk, vanilla extract, oil, and eggs together. In a separate bowl mix the salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, and cocoa powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. (This is a very wet cake mixture) Pour into 2 9x9 pans or divide into cupcake tins. Bake for 22-25 minutes until done.

2 sticks of unsalted butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a saucepan melt the butter, chocolate chips and cream. Once melted and smooth, add the powdered sugar slowly. Let icing sit (or refrigerate) until thick enough to frost the cake. This makes a very fudgy, delicious icing.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fall Series: Favorite Fall / Back to School Themed TV Episodes

The Cosby Show Season 4 Episode 3 "It's Not Easy Being Green"

Rudy wants to wear a summer dress to a party but Claire tells her it's too cold and she needs to wear her fall dress. Cliff tries to get rid of a water heater. I love this episode. Rudy has a beautiful scene at the end where she has to put away her pretty summer dress. If you are a hulu+ subscriber you can watch this episode here.

Full House Season 1 Episode 3 "Our Very First Day of School"

D.J. and Stephanie start back to school. Stephanie is worried about making friends and D.J. gets put in the smart class without Kimmy. A great episode to watch with your kids and have conversations about making new friends. You can buy the episode on ITunes or Amazon Prime.

Growing Pains Season 2 Episode 2 "Fast Times at Dewey High"

It's the first day of school. Ben deals with a bully, Carol is bored, and Mike finally gets his dream date. A classic episode of Growing Pains about starting school. It's available on Amazon and ITunes. 

The Brady Bunch Season 4 Episode 4 "Today, I am a Freshman"

Who can forget Marcia's first day of high school? After her parents convince her to go to school Marcia joins every available club in order to meet friends. My favorite scene is when Peter's volcano blows up all over her friends. You can watch this episode for free on Xfinity or

Saved by the Bell Season 3 Episode 12 "The Last Weekend"

Zach and Stacy say goodbye and prepare to return to school in the last Malibu Sands episode. Look for a cameo by Denise Richards as Slater's secret admirer. You can watch the entire Saved by the Bell series on Netflix or this episode is available on Amazon.

Do you have a favorite fall / back to school tv episode? Please tell in the comments below!

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